Forum Leaders to mark 50th anniversary at virtual meet


-Forum Leaders will meet to commence the 51st Pacific Islands Forum and related meetings and commemorate the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the Pacific Islands Forum on Friday 06 August.

Fiji will assume the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum at this 51st session under the theme Security and Prosperity in Unity: 50 Years of the Pacific Islands Forum.

The virtual meeting will mark 50 years to the week (August 05-07, 1971) that Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga met in Wellington to speak on ‘matters of common interest’.

Formalities on Friday morning will include Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano, handing over as Forum Chair to host of the 51st Islands Forum and related meetings, Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

“As we commemorate our 50 years of shared aspirations and history in the Pacific, we also find ourselves at a defining juncture in our history and we are faced with unprecedented political, economic and socio-economic challenges across the region. This first meeting is the beginning of a series of meeting that will see Forum Leaders convene over the next 5 – 6 months to continue to dialogue and work through the challenges before us and to advocate and progress our priorities as a collective” said the Incoming Chair and Prime Minister of Fiji.

Forum Leaders will commemorate their 50th Anniversary on Friday and engage on discussions on the COVID-19 recovery efforts and concerns raised by Micronesian countries relating to the Forum are on the one-day retreat agenda.

Leaders will also consider a draft declaration on preserving maritime zones in the face of sea-level rise related to climate change.

The President of the United States of America, Joe Biden Jr, at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Fiji, is also expected to address Forum Leaders at their meeting.

A range of other issues previously considered by Foreign Ministers including preparations for COP 26, and new applications from international Forum Dialogue Partners, are being tabled out of session.

The 51st Forum meetings will continue in coming months with the Forum Chair leading virtual dialogues with civil society, the private sector, Forum dialogue partners and other regional organisations.

A plenary will be held with associate members and Forum observers.

An in-person Leaders Retreat is planned for Fiji in January 2022.